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Nat MP caught breaking disclosure rules

Written By: - Date published: 10:24 am, June 4th, 2010 - 24 comments
Categories: accountability, Politics - Tags: ,

Another Nat MP is in the gun for failing to declare financial interests in line with Parliament’s rules. The Taranaki Daily News is reporting that local National MP Jonathan Young (Herald journalist Audrey Young’s brother) did not declare his directorship in a company that holds his trust’s properties.

The article, written by Massey University journalism student Ryan Bridge (great to see some of the new kids off the block showing some of the old journos how it’s done), states:

Mr Young, National MP for New Plymouth, is a director of Seaview Super Trustees Limited, a firm he says “carries his trust’s properties”, and for which he is listed by the Companies’ Office as holding a 50 per cent shareholding. The other 50 per cent is held by his wife, Maura. Another director listed, without a shareholding, is North Shore accountant Mark Thompson.

Parliamentary rules require that MPs must declare any interest where they hold a directorship or more than 5 per cent of the voting rights.

These declarations of pecuniary interests are critically important. They form part of how the public and the media can judge whether or not an MP has a conflict of interest, and whether or not questions of corruption arise.

When approached by the Taranaki Daily News earlier this week, Mr Young immediately amended his register of pecuniary interest declaration, filed earlier this year, to include his directorship. But when first questioned he said the declaration had already been made. “I’m sure I did submit that. I did, I did submit that. I got a message back from the registrar’s office about that,” he said.

He subsequently indicated the registrar could be to blame for failing to include his declaration and that the message would clear him of any wrongdoing. When asked to make the message public, he conceded he had failed to declare the directorship.

“I’ve informed the Registrar of Pecuniary Interests about the omission I made regarding the directorship of Seaview Super Trustees Limited, asking her to include it in my declaration.”

So let’s get this straight. First, Mr Young claims he declared his interest. Then he tried to blame the Office of Clerk for not including his trust on the register. And then only after being shown up by the journalist did he admit his declaration was wrong.

That’s not good enough. This is a serious issue and Mr Young must explain why he didn’t declare his financial interests in the first place. And further, why he tried so hard to hide his “error”.

It looks like the standard set by John “blind trust” Key has infected his own MPs. One wonders how many other Nat MPs will be caught with a whiff of irregularities around their pecuniary interests?

24 comments on “Nat MP caught breaking disclosure rules”

  1. ghostwhowalksnz 1

    Good to see the fundamentalist Christian has just as loose standards as the rest of nationals mob.
    The rest of his statement about pecuniary interest seems odd in light of Englishs later problems

    • Interesting that he’s a fundalmentalist Christian as well as a Tory. Well the two go together. I always believed that if a person tells me they “are a good Christian its time to run .A good Tory as well ! Bloody hell !

  2. Lew 2

    directorship in the trust which holds his properties.

    Nitpick: a trust doesn’t have directors, and he’s not the director of a trust. It seems he’s the director of a company which owns properties for the trust (apparently). Might pay to clarify to prevent your entire argument being dismissed out due to a misuse of terminology.


    • Michael Foxglove 2.1

      Fair enough Lew. A bit too shorthand on my part. I’ll clarify.
      “did not declare his directorship in a company that holds his trust’s properties.”

  3. Lanthanide 3

    Yeah, it’s a bad look, but really unless it’s a cabinet minister, or an MP involved in some high-profile case, then I don’t really care.

    • Draco T Bastard 3.1

      You should because if enough people don’t care then these people will get away with the corruption that needs to be removed.

  4. Jim Nald 4

    Hah! The rot is increasingly spreading?
    More visibly to the public, standards of integrity are plummetting at this mid-point of a Government involved with rort and rot. Where it counts for the political actors, the public is being kept blinded.

  5. Bright Red 5

    I reckon they should have continuous disclosure on their pecuniary interests. only having to show what they own at one point in a year seems like an invitation for trouble

    • uke 5.1

      How about every time they make a significant change or cumulative change to their assets? Say $5K or greater.

      • Lanthanide 5.1.1

        So every month they get paid their salary, then?

        • uke

          I suppose I meant, following BR, them shifting things around, selling shares, and acquiring new interests etc. Not the basic salary.

          • Jim Nald

            Shifting? Yes, seems like shifting is a hallmark of this Nat Govt.

            They like to shift this there, shift that here, shift taxes, shift wealth, etc.

            They deserve to called ‘shifty’.

            • the pinkpostman

              Just imagine the screaming and shouting if this had been Labour.]
              The Herald would have a field day.
              Remember Philip Field hounded and imprisoned . Ive always and always will believed he was set up . Ask any Pacific Islander about the customs of their people.Its time to ask why we have different rules for National and different rules for the political Left.Granny Herald should explain .

            • Jim Nald

              oh yes, and shift the facts,
              shift the truth
              shift the story
              shift the blame

  6. Can you trust any Nat MP?

    Capcha “clues” …

    • Jim Nald 6.1


    • True Blue 6.2

      Yes Chris Carter … Wait he’s Labour!!!

    • Jim Nald 6.3

      More like David Carter and John Carter?
      In any case, the Nat MPs’ political legacy will leave a moral crater.

    • Dont trust any Tory. MP or not.In the Uk they are known as the nasty party.
      What beats me is why working people ever vote for them? History is full of Tory tricks and anti worker policies and legislation is it not?

      • uke 6.4.1

        “What beats me is why working people ever vote for them?”

        Friend of mine reckons it’s cause they hate themselves.

  7. Draco T Bastard 7

    It looks like the standard set by John “blind trust’ Key has infected his own MPs.

    “infected” would be the wrong mindset as it implies that they became that way after a time whereas they’ve always had that mindset. It comes from their desire to keep everything hidden, after all, if nobody knows what you’re doing, you can’t be held accountable.

  8. Vicki 8

    There was also this bit in the Taranaki article that you haven\’t quoted above:

    “In later interviews, Mr Young said he had been confused about what was being discussed, and that he had been referring to a declared trust, not the undeclared company. He also said it had been an innocent omission.”

    Sounds like he said, he had declared his interest (because he thought the reporter was referring to a declared trust). So submitted that the Office of the Clerk must have made an error, as at this stage he thought that the reporter was referring to this trust. And then eventually when he realised that it was an indeclared company, he saw he\’d made an innocent omission and then rectified the situation.
    Seems fairly straight-forward to me.

    • Irascible 8.1

      His later response is called “damage control spin” by the media advisors. He has been caught out and like any child caught in a similar situation he attempts to spin his way out of the hole he dug himself. He is obviuosly being advised by Key in all his behaviour and ethics.

  9. Gazza 9

    Looks similar to the leaky home’s syndrome,maybe it should be called the “Leaky trust syndrome”.
    These MPs seem to be BLIND to the LEAK “Trust us we will plug the leak” but it will take at least 4 years to do.

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